You are going to British Columbia! But what should you do? Where might you go? We’ve cast our eye on British Columbia and compiled a list of things to do and see.
We've broken down the '89 things' into subsections to suit a variety of traveller interests. Have we covered everything there is to do? Nope, not a chance. But this guide will offer inspiration to dig into both off-the-beaten-track gems and tried-and-true B.C. highlights.
8 Adrenaline Pumping Things to Do
If these activities don't get your adrenaline pumping, are you sure your heart is working?
1. Take the plunge - go bungee jumping
WildPlay Element Parks
Description: Choices are limited for thrill-seeking bungee jumpers in British Columbia. But we have to say, these two scenic spots make for mighty fine adrenaline-packed moments.
Price: Budget a little over a hundred dollars or so; additional same-day jumps are sometimes discounted.
2. Fall back to Earth - go skydiving
Description: Skydiving is the experience of a lifetime. Book your jump today for a plummet you’ll never forget.
Prince George - Skydive BC
Golden/Invermere/Revelstoke - Skydive Extreme Yeti
Vernon - Okanagan Skydive
Salmon Arm - Skydive Salmon Arm
Kamloops - skydivekamloops.com
Whistler - Whistler Skydiving
Vancouver (jump in Abbotsford) - Skydive Vancouver
Victoria - Victoria Skydivers
Qualicum Beach - Skydive Vancouver Island
Campbell River - Pacific Airsports
Price: Tandem and solo jumps will cost a couple hundred dollars but the experience is priceless. Usually operators offer the chance to have your jump filmed for an added cost.
3. Finally try ziplining
Description: Ziplining will send you soaring through the treetops at top speed, as you fly through the canopy and whip over gorges. With towering forests, B.C. is especially well-suited to exciting zipline courses. Plenty of the operators also offer tree top adventures which see suspended routes complete with obstacles to clear.
Website: See a complete directory here
Price: $50+ per person
Location: Fernie, Kelowna, Kennedy River Canyon (en route to Tofino), Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Nelson, North Vancouver, Peachland, Revelstoke, Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler
4. Scream your head off at Playland
Tourism Vancouver/ PNE
Description: I bet it’s been a long time since you’ve gone to an amusement park. Get out there and play! Located at the PNE fairgrounds in Vancouver, you’ll find over 30 scream-worthy rides and attractions. Do you dare ride Atmosfear or Hellevator? For those too short to ride there is a special area built just for kids two through 10.
Price: A one-day PlayPass is $36.00; $24.95 for those under 48" tall
Location: 2901 East Hastings St., Vancouver
5. Go hang gliding
Description: Soar over the beautiful British Columbia landscape in a hang glider, catching the wind just like the hawks and eagles.
Price: A tandem hang gliding lesson is $190. Prices go up, depending on your level of interest and commitment to the sport.
Location: Lumby (east of Vernon)
6. Rip around on an ATV tour
Description: Bear Country Tours offers guided tours and ATV rentals in the Coastal Mountain Range. This area is known for its ruggedness and its stunning scenery.
Price: There are many different kinds of tours, from a two-hour trek to an overnight excursion. A full-day adventure, including lunch, is $269 if you’re the driver.
Location: Agassiz, in the Fraser Valley
7. Visit the Myra Canyon Adventure Park
Description: The Myra Canyon Adventure Park offers a Ropes & Challenge Course set high amongst the trees. There are eight course lines with 74 different elements. Don't worry you’re strapped into a safety system. Guests of all ages are welcome to take the challenge for themselves!
Price: For an adult to take four of the tree courses, it’s $35
Location: 4429 June Springs Rd., Kelowna
8. Free ride a ski hill
Silver Star Mountain Resort
Description: Once the warm spring sun melts away the snow, these ski resorts become bike parks. You don't have to be a professional mountain bike rider either. Most, if not all, of these parks have well marked trails for all skill levels.
Locations: Fernie Alpine Resort Bike Park, Silver Star Bike Park, Sun Peaks Resort Bike Park, Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Panorama. Mount Washington Bike Park re-opens after a 3-year haitus in July.
9 Places to Find Adventure in Nature
We understand that sometimes it's more inspiring to hike, cycle or paddle when there's a gorgeous waterfall or lonely shipwreck at the end of the trail. Each of these trails/routes lead to or bypass something neat.
9. Visit Helmcken Falls
Description: Helmcken Falls is the fourth highest waterfall in Canada, measuring 141 metres. There is a short, paved road from the main road in Wells Gray Provincial Park that leads to the falls. Take in the sights and go for a short hike around the rim.
Website: Click here
Location: Wells Gray Provincial Park (Helmcken is most commonly accessed from Clearwater, B.C.)
10. Hike the West Coast Trail
David J Laporte, flickr.com/photos/footloosiety
Description: The West Coast Trail is an internationally renowned hiking route on the southwest edge of Vancouver Island. The trail stretches 75 kilometres along the coast and through gorgeous forest. Botanical Beach is the highlight. It’s not for the faint of heart and you can beat the crowds by going in spring.
Price: There are camping packages available and you need to register and purchase a permit.
Location: Vancouver Island - the trail is anchored by Port Renfrew and Bamfield
11. Bike the Gold Rush Trail
Description: This trip is for the road cyclist and you'll have to be comfortable with biking long distances on the highway. (Cyclists with loaded panniers are no surprise along B.C.'s roadways.)
Before the intense heat of summer sets in, bike the Gold Rush Trail in spring. Why this route? The Gold Rush Trail stretches from Lillooet to Barkerville, a 472-km itinerary rife with gold rush history. If you’re adventurous, cycle the entire trail. Can't commit? Just do some of the shorter portions in between. For example, Clinton to 100 Mile House is about 72 kilometres.
Read more about this route here: hellobc.com/driving-routes/gold-rush-trail
Location: Bikers can ride from Lillooet to Barkerville, making camp along the way.
12. Explore Fang Cave
Description: Travel to northern B.C. and go caving. Fang Cave is the ninth longest cave in Canada and is part of a diverse limestone complex, which includes other caves. Those venturing in should carry proper gear and practice safe caving techniques.
Location: Located in Evanoff Provincial Park; Prince George is the nearest community.
13. Visit the Sea To Sky Gondola
Tara O'Grady Photography, taraogradyphoto.com
Description: Ride the gondola, take in the views, go on a trail tour, eat at the lodge, go backcountry hiking or walk the suspension bridge to the viewing platform.
Price: A day pass for an adult is $37.95, or $33.95 if you buy online. There are annual passes available, as well, and different prices for different age ranges.
Location: 36800 Highway 99, Squamish
14. Go on a sea kayaking adventure
Description: Kayaking in open water can be intimidating, especially when you're unfamiliar with the area. If you want to find some of British Columbia's most pristine coastal landscape, book a trip with West Coast Expeditions. They lead sea kayaking excursions in Kyuquot Sound and Checleset Bay. You could also go camping on a wilderness retreat on Spring Island.
Price: Depends on the adventure you want to have. Check the website for more information.
Location: Spring Island, Kyuquot
15. Stand in awe at Kinuseo Falls
Province of British Columbia, flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos
Description: Monkman Provincial Park is home to thundering Kinuseo Falls. This monster waterfall plummets 60 metres - that's higher than Niagara Falls! It's a highlight tucked deep into northern B.C.'s rugged wilderness. Since you've driven so far to reach Monkman, stick around a while. There are plenty of campsites and opportunities for hiking, fishing and caving in the park.
Website: Click here
Price: Cost free
Location: South of Tumbler Ridge
16. Hike to a shipwreck
Dollar Photo Club
Description: Hikes are so much more fun when they lead to a hidden treasure. We found five abandoned wrecks that can be accessed without a mask and snorkel.
Location: One on Haida Gwaii and four on Vancouver Island
Get the list by clicking here!
17. Hike to a hot spring
Image Credit: Brayden Hall
Description: Keyhole Hot Springs are the best kind of hot springs: sculpted by nature and overlooking a river. They're rustic and remote to boot. You'll have to hike in but it's well worth the reward.
Location: Near-ish to Pemberton. Click here for full directions.
Not located near Pemberton? No problem - here are two dozen other B.C. hot springs
14 B.C. festivals to attend in spring
Summer may get most of the music festival hype but there are plenty of celebrations built around dining, local culture and nature in spring.
18. Feast Tofino
Description: Feast Tofino is a delicious event that celebrates West Coast tide-to-table dining. This collaboration between local and regional chefs, restaurants, fishermen, foragers and farmers - as well as guest chefs - aims to show off sustainable menu options. Dine at any of the participating restaurants or attend Anchor Events for an education in eco-friendly production and harvest. The event runs May 6 to 22.
Price: Prices vary, depending on what you’re eating
Location: Across Tofino. Check the website for more information
19. Wings Over The Rockies
Description: Running May 9 to 15, 2016 marks 20 years for this festival. This year's theme is Reflections On Water. It examines the essential role of freshwater resources in B.C., the current condition of these resources and future challenges. Profits from the festival are invested in conservation and education projects in the Upper Columbia Valley.
Price: Each event during the festival has a different price. Check the website for more details and find out how to register. Space is limited.
Location: Various locations in the Upper Columbia Valley (Invermere, Windermere, Radium, Columbia Valley and Parsons area). Check the website for where each presentation will occur.
20. Meadowlark Nature Festival
Description: The festival runs from May 19 to 23, and offers 79 different events for you to check out. Centered in the Okanagan and Simikameen Valleys, local experts will take you on tours of ecological, geological and historical significance. Excursions include canoe trips, guided walks, cultural events, bird watching, backcountry horseback riding and much more.
Price: Each event is a different price. Check out the website for more information, and to register.
Location: Various locations in the Okanagan and Simikameen Valleys
21. Golden Mountain Festival
(c) Bruno Long via Tourism Golden
Description: For three spirited days in May, historic Golden hosts the annual Golden Mountain Festival. It celebrates the best of mountain town living and the natural environment that has sculpted its distinct character. Visitors will get a distilled dose of what it means to live and play in Golden while learning more about a history penned by intrepid pioneers. Runs May 20-22, 2016
Price: $5-$40; some events are free or by donation
22. Black Powder Day
The Kilby Historic Site
Description: Muskets, pistols and bows – oh my! Come out and celebrate Father’s Day, June 19, for the Black Powder event located at the Kilby Historic Site. You’ll find various entertainment, Trader’s Row and lots of demos from the 1880s era.
The Kilby Historic Site is operated by the Fraser Heritage Society, a charitable non-profit society with a volunteer board. Part of the Society’s mandate is to preserve, research and interpret the unique history of the Kilby family and the general store and farm they operated. Your admission to the museum, and our events, help to make a difference as we strive enrich lives, inspire a sense of wonder and deepen understanding of our interaction with British Columbia’s heritage.
Price: Adults $10 |$9 Seniors | $25 Family and children 5 and under free Dress in 1880s Garb and get in free!
Location: Kilby Historic Site - 215 Kilby Road, Harrison Mills
23. Chilliwack Art Of Wine Festival
Description: Delicious appetizers, live entertainment, a silent auction and the best wines to sample – what better way to spend this Mother’s Day? On Saturday, May 14, check out the Art Of Wine Festival and sample your way through vintages presented by 25 different wineries.
Website: Click here
Price: Tickets are $50 each
Location: Chilliwack Cultural Centre (9201 Corbould St., Chilliwack)
24. Catch a surf competition
Description: Rip Curl Pro Tofino is the largest surfing competition in Canada, and the only one in the country that’s open to all divisions. This event also serves as the Canadian Surfing Championship. Come out from May 27 to 29 and watch the professionals ride the waves! When you're done at the beach, head into Tofino to dine on some of B.C.'s best coastal cuisine.
Location: Cox Bay, Tofino
25. Great Outdoors Festival (GO Fest)
Description: Whistler’s GO Fest falls on the Victoria Day long weekend and aims to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of warmer weather. The weekend has a schedule packed with free and low-cost activities. Try a new hobby, take in an open-air evening concert in Whistler Village, or attend a workshop. There's all this and so much more.
Price: Some events are free or by donation, while others are offered at a special GO Fest price. Check their website for more information.
26. The Grape & The Grain Festival
Description: Attend The Grape & The Grain Festival to enjoy spirits, wines and beer from producers around B.C. and beyond. Grab something to eat from the food trucks, listen to resident artists and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The event runs May 28 - 29.
Website: Click here
Price: Prices range from $45 to $125, depending on the event you’re attending.
Location: Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Grounds, Surrey
27. Shop the Ashcroft Farmers' Market
Description: Opening May 7 and lasting the entire growing season, the farmers' market in beautiful Ashcroft takes place every Saturday morning. You can find locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers, as well as tasty local treats. While you're in town why not explore nearby Historic Hat Creek Ranch and consider glamping at YD Guest Ranch?
Price: Free entrance
Location: Railway Avenue, near the tourist information booth
Other B.C. farmers' markets we love (as featured in the Summer 2015 issue of British Columbia Magazine): Bulkley Valley Farmers Market, Cottonwood Community Market & Nelson Downtown Local Market, Kamloops Regional Farmers Market, Kelowna Farmers & Crafters Market, Vancouver Farmers Market, Comox Valley Farmers Market and Cedar Farmers Market
28. Attend the Tofino Food and Wine Festival
Description: Where local food and B.C. wines come together, paired with rainforests and beautiful beaches. The event runs June 3 to 5.
Price: There are different events and different costs associated with each. Check the website for more information.
Since you've travelled all the way to Tofino, find out what locals love to do there in this Hometown Series: A Spotlight on Tofino article
29. Eat at the Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival
Description: The Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival will be setting up shop in different locations this spring – April 23 in Abbotsford, April 30 in Mission, May 14 in Maple Ridge and June 4 in Langley. There’s also a fall date – Sept. 10 in Fort Langley. Seeing as the Fraser Valley is an agricultural heartland, we know these vendors are serious about good food.
Price: Admission is free, eating is not.
Description: In June, Prince Rupert's biggest annual festival, Seafest, is held downtown and on the waterfront. The weekend is packed with events, activities, food vendors, competitive sports, live entertainment and a parade. Seafest 2016 takes place June 10-12.
Price: Plenty of free activities at this family-friendly event, though dining depends where you eat.
Location: Various (Mariner's Memorial Park, the harbour, waterfront, downtown)
31. BC Seafood and Shellfish Festival
Description: Join seafood producers, educational institutions, chefs and seafood lovers for incredible Chef Cooking Demonstrations, the Fanny Bay Oyster Shucking Championship, the Annual Chowder Challenge, scrumptious tasting stations, interactive educational displays, live entertainment and the oceanside beer and wine garden.
Website: Click here
Price: Admission varies by tour and event; see website listed above
Location: Courtenay, Comox, Royston, Fanny Bay (Vancouver Island)
13 Gentle Ways to Experience Nature
Because not every outdoor pursuit has to be a strenuous one.
32. Fall in love with Cathedral Grove
Destination BC/Sean Scott
Description: Cathedral Grove - or MacMillan Provincial Park - is one of those places you won't soon forget. Here you'll walk among ancient Douglas fir trees, some more than 800 years old. This is one of the most accessible stands of towering Douglas fir on Vancouver Island. Take care when parking and walking near the trailheads as parking is directly off the highway.
Website: Click here
Location: MacMillan Provincial Park, Vancouver Island (near Port Alberni)
33. Walk through the Enchanted Forest
(c) Enchanted Forest BC
Description: Opening May 6 for the 2016 season, you’ll find magic around every corner in this old growth forest. There are over 350 handcrafted folk figurines to admire, B.C.’s tallest tree house to climb and whimsical 'houses' set in the giant roots of the trees. Come wander and wonder!
Price: $11 for adults, $8 for children.
Location: 7060 Trans-Canada Highway, Revelstoke
34. Go (urban) horseback riding
Glen Valley Stables
Description: Glen Valley Stables offers horseback riding adventures just outside downtown Vancouver. The one to two-hour rides take you through Campbell Valley Park, and both seasoned and first-time riders are welcome.
Price: A one-hour ride is $50 per person; 90 minutes is $75 and 2 hours is $90
35. Stroll through Stanley Park
Tourism Vancouver/ Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)
Description: Stanley Park is Vancouver’s first and largest urban park. It's also consistently ranked among the world's best parks. Hike or take a leisurely walk, bike the seawall, go swimming, ride the train, go for a carriage ride or get something to eat. There’s so much to see and do!
Price: Cost of parking, pool admission, tickets
Location: Vancouver’s West End
36. Stroll through The Butchart Gardens
Description: Step into the beautiful world of The Butchart Gardens. Spanning 55 acres, you’ll find stunning floral displays, casual and formal dining, year-round afternoon tea and creations from local artists. New in 2015 is the Dragon Fountain, a gift from the People’s Republic of China and the city of Suzhou.
Price: Spring (March to June) admission fees are $29.90 per adult.
Location: 800 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay – 23 kilometres north of Victoria
37. Feel your heart flutter at Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Description: Step inside the jungle and be transported by the flora and fauna. The gardens are home to many tropical animals, such as ducks, flamingoes, frogs, turtles and thousands of free-flying tropical butterflies. You’ll find the butterflies feeding on fresh fruit and you can feast your eyes on thousands of stunning tropical plants.
Price: Adult tickets are $16 each
Location: 1461 Benvenuto Ave., Victoria
38. Go geocaching
Description: Geocaching has really taken off as a way for people to get outside and find some adventure. All you require is a smartphone with a geocaching app already downloaded. If you don't want to burn your data you can use a GPS. Geocaching can be a solo adventure or something you do with family and friends. And remember, practice good geocaching etiquette so the Muggles don't catch on.
Price: The cost of the GPS device. Once you’ve made the initial investment, geocaching is free and fun.
Location: All over! Anywhere and everywhere. I once found a geocache stuck to a lamppost.
39. Walk the Wild Pacific Trail
Description: The Wild Pacific Trail is a famous, nine-kilometre trail network that brings you all the beauty of Vancouver Island and offers views you’ll never forget. Shipwrecks, whales, cedar groves, a lighthouse and of course, the ocean. The trail encompasses three sections, all of which can be easily tackled in a day. Or, savour them in portions while spending the weekend in 'Ukee'.
40. Go on a retreat
Description: Get away from it all with the Trail Running and Yoga Retreat at Retreat Golden. You’ll run gorgeous trails and receive technique instruction from Megan Wright – a PanAm and Olympic champion – and Stan Metcalfe, a physiotherapist and acupuncturist. Twice a day, you’ll dive into yoga and meditation practices. Accommodations are at the Kicking Horse Resort and chef Julie Marhsall will be cooking for you. One 30-minute massage is included in your registration fee, but you can purchase additional sessions.
Price: The full retreat, including accommodations, is $800. This increases to $850 after April 30. If you’re a local and want to stay in your own bed, the retreat is $600.
41. Go to yoga camp
Description: Like the sleep away camp from when you were a kid, but better! This weekend retreat offers three days and two nights at Camp Yoga, May 27 to 29.
Price: Tickets include transportation, food, accommodations, all classes and activities. Camp starts at $485 and goes up, depending on your lodging needs.
Location: Camp Elphinstone, 1760 YMCA Rd., Gibsons
42. Watch surfers ride sea rapids
(c) Tourism Sunshine Coast
Description: Twice daily 200 billion gallons of sea water rushes through the narrow straight between Sechelt and Jervis Inlets. It's an incredible natural spectacle that results in swells that sometimes exceeds nine feet. If you're not a surfer you can hike a gentle four kilometres (one way) to a viewpoint.
Location: Off Highway 101 at Egmont
43. Golf Gallagher’s Canyon
Description: Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club offers amazing scenery across 6,800 yards. This golf course was listed as one of the Top 100 Courses In Canada by SCOREGolf magazine in 2008/2009.
Price: During the high season, between May 1 and Sept. 30, regular rate is $119 per person and includes a power cart.
44. Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge
(c) Capilano Suspension Bridge
Description: The Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 137 metres long and sways 70 metres feet above the ground. You’ll find breathtaking views and gain knowledge about the history, culture and nature surrounding you. Free shuttles conveniently run between downtown Vancouver and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. After you've crossed the bridge, explore Treetops Adventure and Cliffwalk which are all included in the price of admission.
Price: $12 - $40, children under 6 are free
Location: 3735 Capilano Rd., North Vancouver
8 ways to get competitive or take on a challenge
The warm weather brings road races, fundraising challenges, and opens baseball diamonds, outdoor courts and fields. Doesn't it make you want to get competitive?
45. Take part in the UrbaCity Challenge
Description: On June 12, you’ll have to put your body and your brain to the test – problem solving and teamwork is what it takes to beat each challenge and move on to the next. This urban adventure race will take you all over the city and you’ll be raising money for the Island Prostate Centre.
Price: $125 per two-person team.
Location: 1925 Blanshard St., Victoria
46. Run, Walk & Roll for a good cause
Description: The Centre For Child Development, supported by the Child Development Foundation of British Columbia, is hosting its 15th annual Run, Walk & Roll For Our Kids on June 5. Register, collect donations for this worthy cause, and come out to support children with special needs and their families.
Price: Registration before May 20 is $20 a person. After May 20, it’ll be $30 a person.
Location: Bear Creek Park, Surrey
47. Get paddling!
Description: The 16th annual Round Bowen Challenge will take place on June 25, and is open to paddlers of high performance kayaks, sea kayaks and fast sea kayaks, OC 1s and 2s and SUPs. You can race solo or part of a relay team. The whole race measures 33 kilometres. There’s also a Half Island Challenge that ranges from 14 to 19 kilometres, if you want to take the shorter course. Afterwards, join the dock party, awards ceremony and salmon BBQ!
Website: Click here
Price: $50 a person.
Location: The race starts and ends at Snug Cove
48. Go on a scavenger hunt
Description: Urban Adventure Quest leads you on a scavenger hunt around your Vancouver. Use your smart phone to find the clues, complete challenges and “unravel the secrets of your city,” according to the website. You earn points for challenges completed, and you can compare your progress against other teams.
Price: $49 per team, and a team is two to five people.
Location: All over Vancouver
49. Disc golf
Dollar Photo Club
Description: Ah...the days are finally getting longer. That means more time after work for leisure, and a round of disc golf is the perfect way to savour the waning day. Grab a partner or few friends and be as competitive as you want.
Locations: There are more than 35 courses across British Columbia. Click to see them all: British Columbia Magazine disc golf round-up
50. Run for your life
Description: If you've ever wanted to challenge yourself to a full or half-marathon, here are some upcoming long distance races. PS - not all of them break the bank either.
May 1 - BMO Vancouver Marathon
May 7 - Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women (5K, 10K)
May 8 - Fairmont Mother's Day Run (5K, 10K)
May 15 - MEC Langley Race Two (5K, 10K, half & full)
May 29 - Run for Water (5K, 10K, half marathon)
May 29 - Vistas Run (5K, 10K)
June 4 - Whistler Half Marathon
June 5- MEC Vancouver Race Four (5K, 10K, half marathon)
June 11 - MEC North Vancouver Race Three (15K, ultra)
June 19 - Fathers Day Walk Run Vancouver (5K, 10K)
June 26 - Scotiabank Half Marathon
51. Tackle the Tough Mudder
Description: This ain’t for the faint of heart. Measuring 16 to 20 kilometres, the Tough Mudder involves more than 20 obstacles to tackle. And mud. We promise it’ll be a challenge you won’t soon forget. Register and come out June 18 and 19 to test your mettle.
Price: $185 per person, or $167 per person if you bundle two tickets together.
Location: Whistler Olympic Park, 5 Callaghan Valley Rd., Whistler
52. Feel the burn on Grouse Mountain
Description: Seek The Peak Relay at Grouse Mountain Resort will test your cardio, stamina, and mental grit. Now in its 13th year, this 16-kilometre course will push you every step of the way. Start out at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver and don't stop until you reach the peak of Grouse Mountain. Proceeds raised by the event benefit the B.C. Cancer Foundation's fight against breast cancer.
Price: Early bird registration is $50 each.
Location: Grouse Mountain Resort, 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Hit the Road: 8 BC Road Trips to Drive in Spring
The spring sunshine makes us want to pack up the car and drive into the new season. Here are eight road trips we've chosen to feature from Hello BC's suggested driving routes. Visit their website to see all 64!
53. Ranchlands & Rivers Circle route
Tourism Kamloops / Kelly Funk
Description: The 836-km Ranchlands & Rivers Circle will take you across rivers, Gold Country and through stunning scenery. Take your pick of outdoor adventure on this drive. Cities you'll pass through include Hope, Lillooet, Clinton, Kamloops, Merritt and Princeton. This loop can be tackled in either direction. Notably, road trippers will pass through EC Manning Provinical Park, Hells Gate, historic Clinton, and the route skirts by Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area.
Price: The cost of gas, staying at various locations on the route, eating and whatever else you’d like to purchase to commemorate your trip.
54. Great Northern Circle route
Destination BC/Andrew Strain
Description: Spanning 3,188 kilometres and taking more than 10 days to complete, this journey across northern B.C. will open your eyes to how vast our province really is. Untamed wilderness, spectacular fishing, wildlife galore; what more could you want? The route passes through Chetwynd, Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Watson Lake, Dease Lake, Smithers, Houston and Vanderhoof. Drivers should certainly make a stop at Liard Hot Springs (pictured above) and if you have the budget to do it, take a sightseeing helicopter ride to the incredible and otherworldly Spectrum Range.
55. Mountains & Vineyards Circle route
Description: Travel more than 1,200 kilometres over seven to 10 days to experience the best interior B.C. has to offer. You can expect stellar mountain views, local fruit and wines, and so many outdoor activities you won't know where to start. The loop passes through Kelowna, Vernon, Revelstoke, Golden, Radium Hot Springs, Kimberly, Cranbrook, Nelson, Castlegar, Trail and Penticton. Make stops to cycle in the historic Kettle Valley, taste your way through wine country, hike in Glacier National Park, raft the Kicking Horse River, take a dip in some hot springs and go wildlife watching in the Columbia Valley. If you can manage all that, you're still only scratching the surface.
56. Heritage Discovery Circle route
Description: If you're interested in the history of British Columbia this is the drive for you. It's a long route though, travelling 3,480 kilometres over more than 10 days. This loops passes through Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Port McNeill, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Prince George, 100 Mile House and Abbotsford. Making stops in Kitamat, Fort St. James, historic Barkerville and a diversion to Haida Gwaii complete the experience. Road trippers will be immersed in First Nations culture, led down the Gold Rush Trail and encounter tunnels, fossils, totem poles and more. Plus, ferry trips across the Georgia Straight and Inside Passage provide scenic breaks from driving.
57. Golden Triangle route
(c) Dave Best via Tourism Golden
Description: Although the trip itself is relatively short at 314 kilometres, the opportunities to stay and play are endless. This trip will take you through three national parks: Banff, Kootenay and Yoho. Remarkable on their own, the Columbia River Wetlands are also a highlight of this itinerary. Bring your camping and hiking gear, along with a camera and appetite for adventure.
Note: This trip will take you into Banff National Park in Alberta, through the mountains and back to Banff.
58. Hot Springs Circle route
Description: This driving circle will loop you through the mountains and past delightful hot springs. The circle is about 851 kilometres and should take about a week to complete. Make frequent stops along the way to enjoy everything the communities have to offer.
Notes: There are 13 stops along this route, from Cranbrook to Creston. Hot Springs Circle route is nearly identical to the Mountains & Vineyards Circle route. One could conceivably combine the best elements of both.
59. Pacific Northwest International Circle route
Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe
Description: Get out your passport for this trip. Taking between three and seven days, across 383 kilometres, this route will take you from Vancouver to Victoria, Victoria to Port Angeles, Wash., over to Seattle and then back to Vancouver. Explore everything these cities have to offer. Stop off at charming Steveston, tour Victoria's Fan Tan Alley and shop Seattle's legendary Pike Place Market.
Location: There are six parts to this trip, beginning and ending in Vancouver and travelling into the US.
60. Discovery Coast Circle route
Description: This driving route stretches 2,116 kilometres (about seven to 10 days) and includes coastal villages, with opportunities to hike volcanic mountains, fish in well-stocked lakes, wander the Gold Rush Trail and so much more. With so much to see and do, this is a drive worth taking.
Location: There are seven parts to this journey, which take you on a ferry to the island, along the coast and then back to the mainland, through beautiful terrain and back to Vancouver.
6 Educational Things to Do
Put down the phone and drop the controller... it's time for some experiential learning. No doubt a visit to any of these attractions or exhibits will leave you with some new knowledge.
61. Visit the Canadian Museum of Flight
Description: Visit the Canadian Museum of Flight to take a look into Canada’s aviation history. The museum is driven by its volunteers and is dedicated to restoring and preserving aircrafts and aircraft engines.
Price: Adult admission is $10
Location: Hangar #3, 5333 216 St., Langley
62. Tour the Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Description: Explore over two million plant and animal specimens at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, including a blue whale skeleton that measures over 26 metres! This natural history museum includes collections of fish, fossils, shells, insets, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants from across BC and the world.
Price: Admission is $12 for adults.
Location: 2212 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
63.Tour the Britannia Mine Museum
Description: Learn what it’s like in the mining industry at the Britannia Mine Museum. You’ll see historical machinery and buildings, and you can even take an underground tour and see what life was like for miners.
Price: Adult admission is $29
Location: 1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach
64. Check out the BCIT Planetarium
Description: The BC Institute of Technology has housed a 77-seat planetarium since 1964 and it is now open as a community resource. BCIT even has a general interest astronomy course and the classes make use of the planetarium.
Price: You must contact the planetarium to set up your viewing. Price is confirmed at booking.
Location: 3700 Willingson Ave., Burnaby
65. Visit the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Description: Explore the universe and our planet at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. You’ll find innovative programming, exhibits and activities to inspire and educate people of all ages.
Price: Daytime admission rates are as follows: adults are $18, youth and seniors are $15, children five to 11 are $13 and children under five are free. Evening rates are cheaper.
Location: 1100 Chestnut St., Vancouver
66. TELUS World of Science
Tourism Vancouver/ Science World British Columbia
Description: Explore the world of science, an adventure for all ages! There are several different exhibits, and the current feature exhibit is Animal Inside Out.
Price: General admission is as follows: adults are $22.50, seniors, students with ID and youth are $18.50, children three to 12 are $15.25 and children under three are free.
Location: 1455 Quebec St., Vancouver
Don't live in Vancouver? There are a few other science centres to be enjoyed in BC: Okanagan Science Centre in Vernon, The Exploration Place in Prince George, and BIG Little Science Centre in Kamloops
7 BC Experiences for Nature & Animal-Lovers
Trust us, the kids are going to love getting up close and personal with these critters. Wildlife sightings, guaranteed.
67. See marine life at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
Description: Located in the beautiful waterfront community of Sidney, you can see over 3,500 marine animals from the Salish Sea. Check the website for special programs and activities going on.
Price: Adult admission is $15
Location: 9811 Seaport Pl., Sidney
68. Spot a grizzly
(c) Claire Dibble via Tourism Golden
Description: The Grizzly Bear Refuge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has the world’s largest protected and enclosed habitat for a grizzly. Visitors can take an interpretive tour to learn more about these impressive animals.
Price: $14.95 - $25.95 (summer 2016 pricing, see link for details)
Location: Kicking Horse Resort, Golden
69. Tour the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Description: The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary sits on 850 acres of marsh, wetlands and low dykes, providing a natural and protected resting area for migrating birds. While you’re here, you can go bird watching, take photos, feed the ducks and chickadees and buy some souvenirs in the gift shop.
Price: Adult admission is $5. Seniors and children are $3.
Location: 5191 Robertson Rd., Delta
70. Find some creepy crawlies
Description: Visit the Victoria Bug Zoo, a mini zoo that offers the opportunity for you to see insects, arachnids and many other bugs from around the world!
Price: Adult admission is $12
Location: 631 Courtney St., Victoria
71. Go on a Hawk Walk
Description: Raptors Ridge Birds of Prey is an organization in Maple Ridge that cares for birds known as raptors – hawks and eagles, for example. Through the Hawk Walk program, you get a tour of the Raptors Ridge facility and the birds in their care. You’ll get instructions for handling these types of birds and then you’ll be guided on a walk through the rain forest with the raptor on your fist.
Price: $45 per person
Location: 26021 100 Ave., Maple Ridge
72. Tour the British Columbia Wildlife Park
BC Wildlife Park-Doug Sage
Description: Spanning over 100 acres, the BC Wildlife Park is touted as one of the most interactive wildlife experiences you can find. The park is home to Clover the Kermode bear, as well as cougars, moose, wolves, birds of prey and so much more.
Price: General admission for adults is $15.50
Location: 9077 Dallas Dr., Kamloops
73. Visit Parrot Island Sanctuary
Description: It’s a bird-lover’s dream! Parrot Island Sanctuary gives a permanent home to abused and abandoned exotic birds from all over Canada. Bring your camera and enjoy the sight of these magnificent birds.
Price: Adult admission is $6
Location: 5090 Mackinnon Rd., Peachland
8 Ways to touch and taste local culture
74. Visit the Chetwynd chainsaw carvings
Description: The first carving project began in 1992 as an addition to the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Alaska Highway. The Chetwynd Rendezvous ’92 Committee wanted to leave a reminder of the community’s involvement in the celebration and commissioned master carver Terry McKinnon to create a bear sculpture. In 2005, the community held the first annual Chetwynd International Chainsaw Carving Championship and it has grown into a must-see event on the second weekend of June every year. This isn’t a traditional art museum, but the carvings are detailed and magnificent – certainly worth the trip to see them up close.
Location: The district of Chetwynd
75. FlyOver Canada
Tourism Vancouver/ FlyOver Canada/ Photographer: Jonathan Evans
Description: Utilizing amazing new technology, guests will hang suspended, with their feet dangling, in front of a 20-metre spherical screen and watch as they are whisked across Canada to view some of our country’s stunning landscapes.
Price: General admission for an adult is $21.95, $18.95 for youth and seniors, $14.95 for children 40 inches tall to 12 years old.
Location: 201 – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
76. Tour the Parliament Buildings
Dollar Photo Club
Description: Enjoy a free, guided tour of .BC.’s legislative buildings and learn about the parliamentary process.
Website: Click here
77. Visit a BC ghost town
Description: The town of Kitsault was established in 1979 as the home community to a molybdenum mine run by the Phelps Dodge corporation of the US. The community was designed for 1,200 residents and included a shopping mall, restaurant, swimming pool and bowling alley. In 1982, however, prices for molybdenum crashed and the entire community was evacuated after just 18 months of residence. Note: accessing Kitsault will require driving along unpaved stretches of road in rural B.C.; ensure your vehicle is tasked to the challenge.
Location: 178-km northwest of Kitwanga (northern B.C.)
Is Kitsault too far? Here are 9 other British Columbia ghost towns.
78. Admire the arts
Tourism Kamloops / Kamloops Art Gallery
Description: Spring in British Columbia can be peppered with rainstorms. For those moments when you need to wait out a storm, why not pop into a gallery? Whether you prefer to admire local talent, international exhibits, First Nations or abstract, B.C. is home to some world class collections.
Location: From small towns to big cities, you'll find art everywhere in B.C. Find a guide to BC's art museums here.
79. Dine on fare at the Thunderbird Café
Description: The Thunderbird Café is a small restaurant within the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, and offers traditional Aboriginal fare for you to try and enjoy. From Squamish salmon chowder to Lil’wat venison chili, you’re sure to find something you love.
Price: Depends on what you order! You can eat at the café without purchasing an admission ticket to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
Location: 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler
80. Take a First Nations cultural tour
(c) Sunshine Coast Tourism
Description: Paddle through the traditional territory of the Tla’amin people aboard the Cheech Lem Chi Chia, a 35-foot Salish style canoe. Your destination is Kwoo Kwahk Thys, also known as the Copeland Islands. During your trip through the passage you'll hear stories and listen to songs of the Salish people.
Price: Five hour paddle costs $145 for adults and $69 for children under 12
Location: Departs Orford Bay, Bute Inlet (Sunshine Coast)
81. Step back in time
Description: Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, are mysterious and beautiful, rich in Haida culture. One of the most significant Aboriginal sites on the islands is SGang Gwaay, a UNESCO World Heritage site – one of the last authentic examples of a west coast First Nations village. You’ll see totem poles that have been standing for hundreds of years. This village is situated in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve & Haida Heritage Site. For more information about getting to this site, contact the Gwaii Haanas head office at the Haida Heritage Centre.
Price: Access to the site is by boat or plane only, so it can get expensive.
Location: Skidegate, Haida Gwaii
10 Islands to Explore
Whether it's just for a day trip or you're able to make a weekend getaway, each of these islands have their own special culture.
Destination BC/Stay & Wander
82. Salt Spring Island - go for the artisan food market and laid-back ease. This vibrant island is one full of makers and it's products like specialty vinegars, plant based soaps and farmstead cheese that make the Saturday Market such a famous one.
83. North & South Pender Islands - go for the outdoor living and friendly islanders. The islands' two-dozen galleries and studios are no doubt indicative of a creatively-inspired population. Take cues from the locals and soak up the blissed-out vibes.
84. Texada Island - march to your own beat on Texada. We love poking about the island's swimming holes and camping at Shelter Point Park.
85. Denman Island - slow things way down on Denman. Comb tide pools, walk sand spits and pop by pottery shops. Cast a line on the water or dip below the surface to explore kelp forests.
86. Hornby Island - go for the hippie attitude and white sand shores of Tribune Bay. Snack on handmade pastries and peruse eclectic artwork. Visitors shouldn't miss a walk in Helliwell Provincial Park.
87. Quadra Island - travel to Quadra Island for family-friendly getaways, great fishing, miles of hiking trails and a pleasing climate. If you need to kill some time in nearby Campbell River, do it in the tasting room of Shelter Point Distillery.
88. Savary Island - go for the beaches which wrap nearly the entire island. Nicknamed 'Hawaii of the North', Savary Island offers white, sandy shores, beautiful scenery and the warmest waters north of Mexico.
89. Meares Island - if you're inspired to disappear into lush rain forest look just off Tofino's wild coast. Meares Island offers mystic trails and boardwalk that lead to stands of towering trees.
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